Livable Phinney’s comment on proposed Parking Code changes

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) recently published proposed changes to Municipal code that will dramatically affect parking throughout the City. These proposed changes can be found here: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/codesrules/changestocode/parkingrecommendations/whatwhy/

SDCI also released an environmental (SEPA) analysis of the draft legislation, and requested public comments. Livable Phinney felt compelled to prepare and submit such a comment/response.

CLICK HERE to download Livable’s Phinney comment on the proposed draft legislation and SEPA analysis.

Some of the proposed changes directly relate to, and in effect negate the effects of, our Appeal and Hearing Examiner’s Decision in favor of Livable Phinney against the Phinney Flats project no-parking waiver. A very brief summary follows:

  • SDCI proposed to change the definition of Frequent Transit Service (FTS) from the current required 15 minute headway to “scheduled” stops while eliminating the 15 minute reference and transferring quantification of this parameter and others to a SDCI Director’s rule only. This clearly ignores the reality bus riders rely on – actual headway. SDIC ignores the Hearing Examiner’s requirement that “actual performance” of bus performance be considered!
  • There is no known study or actual research that concludes an association between
    residential proximity to frequent transit and car ownership. Yet, the City continues to justify the parking exemption in Urban Villages based on that false assumption.
  • SDCI proposed to expand parking exemptions and reduce parking requirements beyond Urban Villages and into other areas throughout the City.
  • SDCI proposed to allow off street surface parking in setback areas, including when abutting a residential lot – now used for landscaping, privacy, maintenance, etc.
  • The ¼ mile “walking distance” to a parked vehicle is based on out-of-state studies, not Seattle where steep grades and inclement weather are serious considerations.
  • SDCI proposes mandatory unbundling of parking (i.e. a parking space lease would be separate from a residential lease). Such unbundled parking would be a disadvantage to lower income residents who would have difficulty paying market rate for necessary parking space.
  • SDCI proposed to actually “Reduce minimum parking for income-restricted housing,
    including for the disabled and other institutional uses”. Don’t low income and disabled residents need parking to get to jobs, transport children, transport supplies, etc.?
  • The proposed code changes don’t address at all the matter of expanding the Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) program (to disallow permits to residents of “no parking” building or to assure reasonable on-street parking for residents in single family neighborhoods, etc..)

The proposed SDCI code changes are wide-reaching. If approved by City Council, these changes will affect all of us who are concerned about residential parking and neighborhood livability. Please consider submitting comment and/or attending a public meeting when scheduled.

The Phinney Flats Developer (Johnson & Carr) continues with their Superior Court Challenge to our Appeal. Thus, we are still actively fund raising to pay for legal costs. Click the button below to donate via credit card, or send a check to Livable Phinney, 6537 Greenwood Ave. Seattle, WA 98103, or drop off a check at the HomeStreet Bank at Greenwood Ave. & 73rd St. Thank you!


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